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Rafael Benitez is a genius if he can transform Newcastle defender Javier Manquillo

Newcastle United

Rafael Benitez is a genius if he can transform Newcastle defender Javier Manquillo

Javier Manquillo is considered a fringe player at St James’ Park and has been a Newcastle United flop since he joined from Atletico Madrid in 2017.

The Spanish defender has made 16 appearances across all competitions this season and is considered the second choice right-back behind teammate DeAndre Yedlin.

But Manquillo got a rare start on Tuesday night during a 2-0 home victory over Burnley and he delivered a decent performance.

The 24-year-old stepped up well to the task at full-back, as he defended well and also got an assist under his belt.

Rafael Benitez has done some exceptional jobs at Newcastle as manager, but transforming Manquillo from a flop to a consistent performer would arguably top the lot.


It’s far too soon to suggest Manquillo can become a long-term answer in the Newcastle backline, but he looked disciplined for a change against Burnley and does have plenty of years left still in the tank.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Benitez is the master at getting the best out of his players and has certainly overachieved with the current crop of players at his disposal.

They are six points clear of the relegation places as it stands and travel to West Ham on Saturday in their next game.

It will be intriguing to see if Manquillo does get the nod or if Yedlin is restored to the team.

Manquillo certainly deserves a run if he’s discovered a new vein of form and it would be a big credit to Benitez if that does happen.

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